Gamma Draconis

Gamma Draconis
Gamma Draconis review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Hard Case - 978-1-7877-3606-1
  • Release date: 2020
  • English language release date: 2021
  • Format: Black and white
  • UPC: 9781787736061
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Julian Bedford is introduced as the arrogant CEO of Gamma Foundation, a company under investigation by the authorities for financial irregularities. Given a hard time by a board member, his chosen solution is to summon a demon and murder the man. Shortly after we see Japanese student Aiko covertly studying occult material, a path that will open the doorway to her family history and conflict with Bedford’s quest for eternal life.

Benoist Simmat is primarily a journalist, with wine a specialist subject. He’s written one well received graphic novel on the history of wine, but here it’s apparent that he’s not a natural storyteller. Simmat has researched deeply to provide a veneer of authenticity, and there are good ideas within Gamma Draconis, but they’re swamped in too much dialogue, some of which is too obviously explanations aimed at the audience. That’s bolted to plotting from the school of convenient interventions.

However, considerable patience is prompted by the sheer beauty of Eldo Yoshimizu’s art. It’s dark, exquisitely rendered in ink, incomparably detailed and notable at bringing characters to life. Those artistic strengths are frequently at odds with the fluidity required for action, but Yoshimizu has no problems with motion either, and as seen on the sample page, he’s also at home when the story takes strange turns.

Mixing the occult with technology may result in spectacular art, but all too often readers will wish Simmat could just move his plot forward more effectively as Aiko wanders from one clue to the next. Thankfully each journey and destination has another gloriously detailed flight or abbey provided by Yoshimizu, and he’s the creative partner pulling the real weight and supplying the lasting impression.